Expert Guidance

Understanding the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Conditions

Designer Creative - Monday, January 30, 2017

What is an acute condition?

 

 If you’ve ever broken your leg, sprained your ankle or had a bout of the flu, you’ve encountered an acute condition.

 

Acute conditions are characterized by their sudden onset and relatively quick recovery time. These types of illnesses or injuries do not persist once a person has healed within a few weeks to a couple months.

 

Those suffering from acute conditions can almost always look at time as a positive indicator, knowing they will get better if they follow the proper healing regimens prescribed by a healthcare provider.

 

What is a chronic condition?

Chronic conditions are not instantaneous episodes like broken bones. Over time, symptoms may appear, worsen and last for months to years, spanning across the life of those affected.

 

This includes conditions like diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, stroke, arthritis and more. Many mental conditions, such as chronic anxiety and bipolar disorder, can also fall under this umbrella.

 

A chronic condition can cause acute conditions, such as how chronic anxiety can lead to panic attacks.

 

Those diagnosed with chronic conditions know that time is not always on their side in terms of feeling well. While today may be a good day, tomorrow’s symptoms may be difficult to endure. Planning vacations or events can also pose problems as symptoms are almost never predictable. In short, while an acute condition will go away, a chronic condition doesn’t heal on its own and a complete cure is rare.

 

Most importantly, those with chronic conditions benefit highly from supportive networks with people who understand their struggles. Many without chronic diseases often try to offer those with chronic diseases advice for getting well. No matter how well-meaning this advice, it is often wrong and can be a source of frustration for those who have lived with chronic conditions most of their lives.

 

M Power offers free workshops along, with support, to those with chronic diseases in Missouri’s Bootheel. The workshops are based around Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and can work alone or in conjunction with other programs or treatments. Attendees develop skills for disease and symptom communication, techniques for dealing with pain and assistance with developing healthy habits for combating symptoms.

 

If you are living with a chronic disease, help is here. Find a class near you, and discover a happier, healthier life with chronic conditions.

 

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This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,754,999 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.

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